Posted by long time exer on February 25, 2012 at 12:58:43
I read this recently and it's simple, but it's how I look at life now:
That our background and circumstances
may have influenced who we are, but,
we are responsible for who we become."
Despite losses, irrepairable damages whether they were done to me or I did them to anyone else or to myself, that past definitely influences who I am, but whatever I don't like I am responsible for choices that lead to wanted changes. Sometimes those changes are difficult regardless of how simple they seem to be, but no matter what challenges are there, positive change is possible. I spent a lot of years in survival mode, but that was not walking through losses and pain of the past. Avoidance does not work. For me, positive action has helped a lot and one of the biggest helps has been to look at issues, whether spanking or surviving abuse, or being abusive or trapped in fear and survival mode, has been encouragement rather than toxic shame or unresolved anger. There is a healthy shame that acknowledges things I'd rather not have done, whether legal at the time or not, and which does not hopelessly condemn me whether based on bad things I have done or bad things done to me that I keep re-living. Instead, a healthy shame leads to growth and understanding. In an environment where there is toxic shame, people can get defensive and judgemental towards self and others. That is simply said, but not as easily overcome. This is where I have had to set toxic thinking aside and replace old thoughts with thoughts I may not believe at first but I start to believe through changing how I think and then how I act. Thoughts come first. I realize in the spanking thread, I talked about my feelings about spanking, but in reality, I learned spanking was "normal" when growing up. I didn't want to do it, but I did it in TF. I was not harsh because it was not how I was, physically, but I do now view spanking as abusive. But I was emotionally withdrawn to survive. Turning a page and learning something different, like how to think about spanking, means I can look at the past and say I don't like what I did, or there was some part of me that didn't like doing that or even, in some cases, I liked it and felt God wanted me to do that- I can change that line of thinking.
Emotional withdrawal can be just as damaging as spanking, sometimes even moreso.
That means a life time of withdrawing had to start with putting myself in situations where I chose not to do that and that is hard to do if you are withdrawn. Anyhow, I hope we can support each other here, whatever issues come up and where we disagree. When I first came to exer sites years ago, I was very surprised at the level of hostility, but I do understand where that comes from. I can be hostile at times, but not that I wanted to be. I'd like to be "friendly" to people here even where I disagree. That doesn't mean I expect everyone to be my friend or think like I do. A healthy thing about this site is that we do have very different opinions on religion, politics, etc.
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